It was Tuesday, March 17th, 16.52, when the email arrived. I knew it was coming.
It was confirmation from the NHS arthritis nurse, with whom I’ve had a fantastically positive relationship over many years (we’re as likely to talk cricket as we are swollen joints), that I’m at high risk when it comes to coronavirus. The two drugs I take for my psoriatic arthritis – drugs which have worked so well that I’m officially ‘in remission’ – both reduce the effectiveness of my immune system. In other words if I catch it, it could be more serious than it is for others.
So I contacted my line manager at the BBC World Service, hovering over the ‘send’ button for a good while, and explained the situation. Within the hour I got back the most understanding and supportive of replies.
And so it began. As I embark upon writing this self-isolation blog, it’s Monday March 23rd, and the most sparkling of spring days. The blue sky is interrupted by a few wispy white clouds, the trees are being only gently disturbed by a light breeze, and it’s comfortably mild. In other circumstances we’d all be looking forward to longer, warmer days and the eventual arrival of summer. But we’re not.
What I aim to do here is not to stick to a rigid timetable, nor to feel duty bound to write something every day. But when thoughts occur, issues arise or strange incidents crop up, I’ll put pen to paper. Above all, I’ll try to be honest….about partner, family, friends, work (without compromising anyone in any way)….because there’ve been moments of introspection and self-doubt already, and I don’t doubt there’ll be many more.
By all means get in touch as the story unfolds.